A slim, sleek camera with a few headline-grabbing features
Compact cameras are in a difficult period of evolution at the present time, having to forgo simply increasing resolution and implement more creative features to distance themselves from other models. In the case of the Nikon S4000, this comes in the form of touchscreen and HD video. There’s also a 12MP sensor and 4x optical zoom, making the S4000 a capable compact in most situations.
Nikon COOLPIX S4000 review – Features
Much like a number of recent Canon and Panasonic compacts the touchscreen facilitates a touch focus feature in which the desired subject simply needs to be pressed in order to become sharp. In reality the feature was a touch slow, especially when the zoom was being employed, although it did manage to accurately track between shots. The touchscreen is also used for the majority of the menu functions, and as it can be both inaccurate and sluggish to use this quickly becomes laborious. In spite of using the tip of a finger far too often the incorrect button became activated, and the reaction time once a function was pressed frustratingly slow. The HD video is perfectly serviceable, although as with most compacts of a similar ilk the focus occasionally got confused while recording.
Nikon COOLPIX S4000 review – Image Quality
Annoyingly the images produced by the 12MP CMOS and 4x optical zoom were flawed to say the least. The camera seemed to be at it’s best when taking tighter framed images with less detailed backgrounds as the edges are more often than not noticeably soft. Tones produced also tended to carry little in the way of graduated range, favoring a more saturated approach to give shades an artificial-looking pop. As a result portrait shots seem to play to the S4000’s strengths, but the likes of landscape images with varied light levels would provide less than satisfactory results. In lower light the perils of a limited lens became obvious, as after ISO 400 images became noticeably noisy and at ISO 1600 virtually unusable.
Nikon COOLPIX S4000 review – Value
At the price range the S4000 is being pitched into there are plenty of cameras that produce better images with a similar feature set, many of whom improve on the zoom and resolution.
A flawed compact with a few interesting extras, but limited image quality and a poor touchscreen make it a below average attempt